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Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Elephant

It wasn't long after the wall came down in 1989 that I went exploring in eastern Europe. Trains for the most part - they allow you to see things up close, people, infrastructure, traffic, industry, residences. Hotels were still soviet-era, with scorching steam heating in uninsulated tired rooms decorated in politburo formica 1950s style. City centres that had been fought over still bore the scars of shell, shrapnel and small arms fire in the ashlar and brickwork, but around the back and above first floor level on the facades. The easily visible damage was patched.

It must have been twenty years on when I went back for the first time and the change was stupendous. The cars on the streets were new - or newish, mostly under ten years old. Bright shopfronts and consumer goods and services had swamped the historic city centres and everywhere, everywhere, were the same concrete, glass and steel shopping malls filled with exactly the same outlets. Prosperity, of a sort, had arrived. The youngsters wore a simulacrum of what they were wearing in Paris or Munich, at least in the individual parts. The ensemble effect was still a little experimental, not quite as finessed. Boots for the snow, not trainers, for example.

Some old traces remained. On the sidings outside Budapest station small mountains of coal and logs to feed the station's heating covered a two hectare plot. British stations heated, if you were lucky, a waiting room and the staff side of the ticket office. European stations heated everything - the whole station complex other than the platforms. Restaurant, barbers, newsagents, offices and counters. In Budapest the waiting room was large, with solid oak benches in rows like a church seating perhaps 200 - and it was full, in the harsh winter in which I returned, with the poor and elderly. As I watched, a railway official pointed to several persons, alone and in couples, and made the 'out' gesture. They picked up their bags and left, to be replaced by others who drifted in quietly. It reminded me of the children's boating pond in Colchester castle park and 'come in number 14!' Clearly there was a free warmth rationing system in place, understood by the rail officials and the elderly poor. Max parking 2 hours, no return within 1 hour or something.

These were the people who had not been lifted onto the elephant's back, at least not then. For the youngsters, their enthusiasm for the new Europe was understandable. It was an H&M, McDonalds, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Svarovski, Adidas, Burger King, C&A, Converse, Hervis, KFC, Levis, Nike, Pizza Hut, Schwarzkopf, Sony, Superdry, Swatch, TGI Fridays, Body Shop, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara paradise of post-soviet consumer choice; the same lines, the same stores in the same chrome and glass malls in every city in Europe.

The success of the global corporates in creating new markets for their cars, white goods, phones and consumer goods not only in eastern Europe but throughout what we used to call the second world has been remarkable. They have created a new middle class, hungry for the manna of the factories and plants throughout the globe. Billions have been lifted out of absolute poverty and enough wealth created to allow them to buy 3g phones even in the meanest favelas and barrios.

This has come at a cost. It has been the older, less skilled, less 'agile' in the new terminology, who have paid. Non-metropolitan. C1,C2,D,E in the UK - rural drivers in France. Those who have never seen an upswing since the 2008 crisis, those who have little to lose. From the elephant's forehead to the valley floor of his trunk, these are the losers from globalisation. The corporates have moved their factories from Japan to Wales, then from Wales to Bulgaria, and will soon move again from Bulgaria to Ecuador or Kenya. At each move leaving in their wake broken communities, debt and worklessness, upheaval and disconnection. Coupled with 'State capture' - the takeover of democratic structures by a new privileged, patrician establishment - it is inevitable that social and economic stresses and tensions will roil.

We have a duty, all of us who can still think and write and hold dialogue between us, to resolve this. There MUST come a system of reform and renewal that re-balances power, a change that includes the currently excluded. Those that have captured the State must learn to share - to devolve, decentralise, empower. But above all to recognise that we are One Nation.


DiscoveredJoys said...

Sadly only 95% of people sign up to 'one nation'. Sadly, because the 5% that don't will wheel, deal, lie, cheat and entrepreneur their way to the front of the queue. Which is why some government control over cartels and firms with market dominance or monopoly is necessary.

Something that the EU is very poor at (or very good at, depending upon your view of the nature of the EU). Another reason to leave the EU.

Span Ows said...

Not so much new middle class as new 'slave class', what is the percentage of those one pay check away from not quite oblivion but certainly major difficulties: that percentage is VERY high.

"At each move leaving in their wake broken communities, debt and worklessness, upheaval and disconnection.

Indeed but it also happens internally as more sales become purely internet/delivery the 'ghost mall' is becoming fairly common in the USA: old malls were once only effected by newer bigger malls within easy driving distance; now, fairly new modern malls are very quickly looking empty and run-down. UK town centres the dame, charity shops and coffee shops seem to be the only things expanding!

Dave_G said...

The power is, and always has been, with the people. The small entrepreurs, small businesses, self employed etc. The only thing corporates do is destroy individualism. Society doesn't actually need corporate intervention to survive. But where corporates see a profit to be made they relentlessly, ruthlessly destroy all opposition and, with it, those independent, individual and innovative people that originally created it.

When the corporates move on the individuals will move back and thrive once again PROVIDING the corporatists rule-creation (that they employ to assist their destruction of individualism) is overcome. How many businesses fail purely because of the cost of implementing onerous rules and regulations that benefit no-one other than the pen-pushers and rule MAKERS employed to exploit them?

Whilst some rules have their obvious benefits there's no disgusing the fact that a business that flaunts the basic rules of health, safety etc will simply fail as customers are disappointed or harmed by their attempt to operate outside acceptable limits yet WITHOUT those limits being imposed at unnecessary additional costs.

Case in point - I make curries. I have passed the regulations on safety and health yet did so without referencing any requirements as these rules were simply common sense and, in my opinion, essential to any success I wanted to achieve. I'm doing 'ok' on a personal, self-employed basis but fear interference by local authorities over regulations that I've probably never heard of, never contemplated or don't need adding to my costs which would eventually have to be passed to my customers which reflects on my sales, profits and ultimately success.

If local authorities keep their noses out of my business I'll either succeed by my own merits or fail because my customers don't appreciate something I'm doing (or not doing).

Basically, if left to our own devices, business will build, jobs will be created and economies will grow.

The EU, as the 'end point of interference' simply increase costs for everyone simply to create administrations and jobs needed to support them i.e. pointless interference for the most part.

Cutting ANY red tape gives businesses that 'money' back to invesst and grow.

I'm not saying ALL rules should be discarded but we all know when rules made 'for the sake of them' are put into place and pre-EU interference, I don't recall business 'harming me' any more than they do today.

I'm encouraged for the future - especially if we drop the yolk of bureacratic interference that is the EU.

Anonymous said...

You don't remember the grey-brown, stinking, open sewers and chem waste dumps, which passed for our rivers and coastal waters before EU regulation, then, Dave?

Nor the public health disasters, such as Thalidomide? (Thatcher's deregulation did give us BSE, too mind)

Careful for what you wish.

Charles said...

Dear Anonymous

Thalidomide was a gift from German pharma which still tries to escape its responsibilities. A great deal of environmental clean up was due to taking water companies out of public ownership, where they were starved of investment and into private hands where they are no longer protected. Yes it’s far from perfect but I lived with the post office and it’s phones, British rail and it’s trains and every other nationalised disaster. Just think we could have a coal mining industry if the Arthur Scargill had not crippled it followed by the carbon loons. Germany would kill for what we have left in the ground.

I agree with Radders, I first went to Armenia in the mid 1990s, no street lights and then you started to see western cars, all with the door locks punched out and smuggled in, then a new airport, then modern hotels. The last time I went prosperity, such as it was was limited to Yerevan, the rest was still stuck in the post soviet Middle Ages, with the occasional palace owned by an ex public servant turned entrepreneur. The main thing about Armenia is that it has an educated workforce with European attitudes (sort of ) and a third world cost structure. It suffers from distance, appalling relations with Turkey and poor infrastructure but it is a nice enough place full of bright people. Whether it will develop further is open to question, maybe they would be happier if they remain as they are.

Oldrightie said...

Anon, you are a blind, self absorbed leftard dinosaur. The time for the stupidity of singular fault is long gone. All UK Governments, bar Lady Thatcher's, have followed the globalisation path and EU federalism to the point we are all lost in an ocean of ridiculous mediocrity. One demonstrated by your pompous self righteousness and immaturity of argument. I would point out to you those "grey-brown, stinking, open sewers" were every bit as present through decades of Labour Government incompetence. Indeed Bliar's mass immigration policy, under many year of EU dominance, followed by ultra weak Tory ignorance in failing to address it, has created a demand on resources now bringing back those sewers of which you claim are long gone under the glorious stewardship of the EU. With our own money, of course. Sir, you are a ridiculous prick polluting this habitat.

Anonymous said...

The UK was known as the Sick Man Of Europe before it joined the then EEC, with Ted Heath's endless power cuts and Three Day Week.

Now it is a laughing stock, not just of Europe, but of the whole world.

Don't try to pretend that it isn't eh?

Thanks for answering a few questions of your own, that I never raised though.

Dave_G said...

Anon - you seriously think it was entirely due to the benificence and largess of the EU that we no longer have as many open sewers? Dickhead.

I suppose we should be grateful that we have glass in our windows and food on our plates - heaven help us as we starved and froze to death without the all-encompassing EU directing our industries.

Then again, thanks to the likes of CAP and CO2 rules the prospect of starvation and cold-related deaths returns to haunt us. Where's your precious EU now?

The UK led the WORLD in many innovations and improvements in social and environmental issues and to discard those achievements and attribute them to the bureacracy that is the EU is to rewrite history in the manner of Communists and other LOSERS that discredit their own countries achievements - typical left-wing blindness.

I'd advocate your banning from posting but you clearly want as many people as possible to know you're a thoughtless dickbrain - no wonder you hide behind annonymity. At least your family/friends won't (hopefully) be tainted by your idiocy.

Billy Marlene said...

May I suggest that Anon comes out of his shell.

A nice cuddly username - Groundhog? Perhaps.

That way, every day we will be prepared for your continuous loop of repetitious shyte.

Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

But we are not one nation any more. I don't mean simply that we are no longer white British, but we are tribal. Leavers and Remainers, LGBGT and heterosexual, alt-Left and alt-Right, Far Left and Far Right, Christians and atheists, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and whatever, Vegans and non-vegans, pro-lifers and abortionists, free speechers and the politically correct, traditionalists and SJWs, feminazis and cowed can we be one nation with a shared heritage, shared values of liberty, freedom and the rule of law, where families are the bedrock and foundation of our civilisation?

Anonymous said...

I think it is a common misconception that 'bigger is better' and that 'might is right'
It is the nimble and adaptable that survive when things get ugly. It is the mavericks and those that go against the grain that are mainly responsible for advancement especially in things such as science.
(Not anonymous.)

Raedwald said...

Mrs Proudie - you're right. We're riven by a tribalism you so accurately describe. And I don't have the answer.

Anonymous said...
Germany's problems may be bigger than we thought.

Dave_G said...

We may well be riven by tribalism but we do have a COLLECTIVE opinion on our country. We 'love' our country, we love the way our forefathers built it into the desireable place to live that it has become. We love our freedoms, rule of law and justice etc.

It is THAT commonality that brings us together and encourages support for Brexit to allow us to KEEP those hard-fought rights and freedoms plus the ability to make changes to those things that we don't agree with.

This is what remoaners simply don't get. They are happier having every aspect of their lives dictated to them by unaccountable, faceless dictators whose aim is for their OWN benefit and not that of the people.

Remoaners are cucks. They are happier 'under the leash' with all responsibilities handed over to others so they can absolve themselves from 'everything' and eventually be able to say "well, it's the EU that said so/makes it true/is responsible" etc. They are incapable of living their lives under their own control. As I said - cucks.

The French are starting to 'get it', the Italians look at Brexit and think 'hmmmm' and there will be MORE countries wanting to regain their independence and right to self-rule before it all ends.

Tribalism? Nothing at all wrong with it. It's all part of being British. Or German. Or French etc....

Dave_G said...

@Annonymous (not Anon) - Germany can make any claim they want about shutting down power stations. Reality will soon kick in and they'll have to face the FACT that they can't run a 1st world economy without access to reliable energy. Renewable and reliable don't fit in the same sentence.

Making pronouncements in support of Climate Change is easy to do - putting them into practise is a different thing entirely and no matter how assertive and demanding proponents for anti-CO2 may be even THEY will STFU when their own access to energy is curtailed by their short-sighted approach to the real world.

Many economies are now realising that anti-CO2 actions are harming them where it makes a difference - in their pockets - and the change is happening already.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have the answer to Mrs. P., Raedwald. Well, you did before June 23rd 2016, didn't you?

"Vote Leave!!!"

Raedwald said...

Anon - yes, of course that removes the source of the infection, but healing the wounds to our country the EU has caused will take time.

Like John Snow removing the handle to the pump infecting our people with Cholera, 23.6.16 will also prove to a radical measure that was needed to combat a disease.

DeeDee99 said...

@ Mrs Proudie You wrote more or less what I would have written, with this in addition:

Where is this "one nation." Following devolution, we are now 3 nations (Scotland, Wales and NI) and the English milch cow which largely funds it but where any attempt to identify as a nation is sneered at by the "Elite."

Anonymous said...

But Tommy Robinson claims that the source of the "infection" is the ex-British Empire, such places as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and so on.

Many among those who also share your views agree with him.

Are those places in the EU, then?

Raedwald said...

Anon - keep your filthy racist views off this site.

The infection is from bacilli such as yourself, fomenting conflict, dissent and division

Domo said...

"Those who have never seen an upswing since the 2008 crisis, those who have little to lose."

It's significantly worse than that
French GDP peaked in 2008, it has lost some 10% since then.
Greece is back where it was in 2003

It's not so much the "left behinds" this time, the rapacious government sectors really are talking food out of the mouths of the poor

Anonymous said...

They are not my views and you know it.

But they are often those of the most rabid EU-haters.

How do you explain to them, that EU exit will do nothing whatsoever to further their aims on the point?

jim said...

Seems me that Brexit and moaning about globalisation are displacement activities that avoid facing the real problems the UK and other mature wetern nations face - we are not as important as we once were.

The world is flattening out economically - formerly less developed nations are getting rich and western nations are getting rich but less quickly. The usual economic mantra is that new industries will help float all boats, this is not happening, at least not at all evenly.

Had hard Brexit succeeded what would have been a workable strategy? Would the UK have become a New Singapore or would it have reverted to a 1950s environment but without the post-war optimism. The New Singapore model would have required a big boost to a mixed services/industrial economy. Snag is that everyone else is trying to do the same. In his last paragraph Raedwald alludes to the difficulty of achieving a balance. Personally I favour remaining in the EU, at least we can all snuggle up like pigs in a sty for mutual warmth. World capitalism will not play nice and only if we stick together is there any hope of controlling it even slightly, divided we hang seperately. Otherwise we are more likely to face a 1950s Miss Marple social setup because nothing has been done to prepare for any sort of improved economy.

Looking forward, what happens after March 29? Not much as far as I can see, more can kicking and very slow negociations but nothing in the way of solving the real problems. Then the run up to to 2022 election and assuming the Tories scrape through (pas de mieux) the backstops and interim agreements start to fall away.

But the real problems remain. For example, is there any point in big spending on mass education in the light of robotics and AI. Will we have to move to a two tier streamed system. Then public housing, will we keep on with trying to keep this in the private sector or will we face up to building a lot more on the public purse and how will we control it. Then what sort of society do we need. Most of the world's entrepreneurs rise up out some sort of middle class household, not single mums living in a rented flat or on a dump estate. We are all middle class now - as if.

Lots of work for the politicians to do, but they don't seem willng to do it.

Anonymous said...

Broadly, I'd agree, Jim.

But the reason for giving as many people as possible access to a decent education is one of satisfying their demand for fairness. If you only care about economic utilitarianism, then no, there might be little point.

However, most people want their young to stand a sporting chance, against those who have been put through Eton, Harrow etc.

The diverse, fatalistic, counsels of despair amount to "resistance is useless", and they come from the same types who have said that throughout history.

They sow division within societies and between nations, in the hope that the US will remain utterly unchallenged in the global arena, it seems to me, but billions are wise to that now.

Dave_G said...

@DD - the Scottish voted 'no' to independence and the Welsh voted 'yes'. The Scottish result seems somewhat validated by an 85% turnout but the Welsh was only 32% so has (IMHO) little credibility on the basis that the vast majority couldn't give a toss either way. We're still 'one nation' - this despite the collective and concerted efforts of the establishment/Globalist/EU to 'divide and conquer'.

@Anon - concerns for immigration are based on immigrants refusal to adopt the British way of life, rules of law etc and not their actual origin. UKIP have always stressed that immigrants that come here and adopt our lifestyle are more than welcome. On this issue I suggest many agree and that this country could do without those that bring depravity and want to live in enclaves.

That the world is 'flattening' economically is, perhaps, the point. We need to be flexible to adapt to changing circumstances as part of that wider world - not tied to inward looking self-preserving societies that will end up like those immmigrants I mention above - in enclaves, shunning all outside contact.

The only 'club' the UK needs to be part of is one of its own creation. We have always been innovative, outward looking, experimental, ambitious and free spirits seeking the next deal and allowing ANY organisation to interfere - either by jealousy or fear of our potential - is the road to complacency and stagnation.

Apart from our overly generous welfare state attracting the less desireable and least employable economic migrants, businesses flock to the UK for good reason and a 'free' UK will give us the ability to build on that attraction.

Anonymous said...

So Dave, how do ukip propose to persuade the many already here - now often British-born nationals - who clearly do not accept post-Enlightenment, secular values, to do that?

What is the proposal, should they refuse?

The EU are discussing this very thing, incidentally.

mikebravo said...

Poor old a.nonny is one of those that wants to believe that without the beloved eu's benevolence and selfless guidance we would go back to wearing hessian underwear and eating dung. What a goon!

Anonymous said...

Answer the question, mb.

Oh, you can't can you?

Which is why you resort to Straw Men, insults, ad hominem, distortions, fantasies and other rubbish.

Isn't it?

But maybe these people might get somewhere:

Raedwald said...

Final spam warning anon - we want to hear your points, not provide a platform for your spam links. I'll let this one go but last time.

Anonymous said...

OK. My point was, that people who might actually make a difference are putting their heads together, as to how to get some cultures to integrate better into modern Europe.

Some folk here wouldn't believe that.

So I posted a link, to show that they either do exist, and have been working at that, or that someone has gone to immense lengths to produce a fake website to mislead the public that that is the case.

You can make your own minds up as to which.

I was interested as to what ukip's policy might be, but have as yet had no sensible response.

Raedwald said...

You won't find UKIP's policies here, will you? No, you're just baiting my readers. Who if they have any sense will ignore it. Anyway, surely my party's policies rather than UKIP's are more relevant, given that we're in government?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see. Political parties aren't any longer to be expected actually to do anything at all. They're just mutual-support empathy groups, where their supporters can all agree that they are angry about, or hate the same things, but if anyone enquires as to what use they might be, then they're accused of baiting.

What a bunch of wet lettuce leaves they are eh?

So what does your party propose then Raed?

Dave_G said...

All the UK asks is that people who live here understand and accept the rule of law as it is stated to be. There is and should never be any accommodation for alternatives to UK Law; law as the UK defines it - not as the EU defines it.

Equally people should be prepared to swear allegiance to their country (state) and/or declare their acceptance of the laws therein.

If you don't want to do the above or accept the above then you shouldn't really be there - should you?

The above isn't Party Political either - it's how ALL independent states should work. Some states actually do adhere to such requirements - they'll be the ones that haven't been co-opted into 'open borders' policies or succummed to enforced immigration methods.

Anonymous said...

RW, interested by "my party's policies rather than UKIP's are more relevant, given that we're in government?"
That would be the Tories, then. More relevant to what? They've been going down the pan in a long-drawn-out act of self immolation ever since they ditched Margaret Thatcher - arguably our best PM since at least WW2 and I'd say before for some considerable time; they went through a succession of 2nd-raters before, in an extraordinary fit of drug-induced inattention (or something - I really don't know) sticking Theresa May into Downing Street. It took me a while to place her, when one considers such figures as Heath, Blair, Brown and Cameron, as our worst PM since at least WW2... The past 2½ years (as some friends & I were agreeing yet again today, shaking our heads in baffled despair) have been the most shambolic, infuriating and humiliating period any of us could remember: my political interest dates back to the '60s, and one or two chaps I know go back further than that.
Even with the departure of the estimable Nigel Farage, there is much to be said still for UKIP - especially when set against the appalling Tory Party.
What can you possibly see in that bunch of losers?

Mark said...

"Which is why you resort to straw men, insults, ad hominem, distortions, fantasies and other rubbish"

Anon, are you actually conscious of what you are typing? I'm serious!

Anonymous said...

Indeed you are, Mark.


Span Ows said...

Anon, we are not the laughing stock of the world OR the EU. Maybe in your bubble. I've explained

Also, you may not know it but there was a time before the UK was in the EU (EEC, Common Market). Just as from 2010 the BBC blanked out anything form the new Labour period (it was either the Coalition [nasty Tories] of Fatcher's fault.) so too you seem to think all good stems from the EU.

Plus Mark's "straw men, insults, ad hominem, distortions, fantasies and other rubbish" was clearly meant to help you realise what you are doing.

re one-nation, the aim is to set everyone against everyone (the spectacle of women's rights vs. ultra femi-nazis vs. Trans is a delight to behold) not just the countries but at a singular level, everyone is a victim (PC to the nth degree) and everyone is a criminal (ever encroaching laws)to make the State the necessary mother and nanny of all.

Anonymous said...

Those with the aching sides will be the judge of that, Span.